Go-it-alone Scotland 'would be forced out of 14,000 treaties and have to renegotiate membership of the EU'Scotland would have to re-apply to organisations including EURemainder of UK would continue to have same international powers
Report is 'huge blow' to Alex Salmond
01:49 GMT, 11 February 2013
01:50 GMT, 11 February 2013
Blow: Alex Salmond, the SNP leader, whose claims Scotland would not have to apply to join groups such as the EU are sounding increasingly unlikely (file picture)
If Scotland voted for independence it could have to re-apply to a whole host of international organisations including the EU and the World Bank, laywers said.
It would also have to renegotiate 14,000 international treaties, according to legal advice commissioned by Whitehall.
The report is a huge blow to Alex Salmond, the SNP leader, whose claims Scotland would not have to apply to join groups such as the EU are sounding increasingly unlikely.
The legal advice concludes that Scotland would become a ‘new state’ while the remaining United Kingdom would be considered a ‘continuing state’.
So if Scotland seceded, only the rest of the UK would continue to have the same rights, obligations and powers under international law. The UK is a party to 14,000 treaties and is a member of groups such as the UN, the EU, Nato, Interpol and the International Monetary Fund.
The 57-page report, written by Professors James Crawford and Alan Boyle, raises the prospect that Scotland will have to apply to re-join many of these if it votes for independence in a referendum next year.
David Cameron said: ‘Those glorious Olympics last summer reminded us just what we were capable of when we pull together: Scottish, English, Welsh, Northern Irish, all in the same boat – sometimes literally. If you told many people watching those Olympics around the world that we were going to erect barriers between our people, they’d probably be baffled. Put simply: Britain works. Britain works well. Why break it’
Addressing matters of the 'heart and head', Mr Cameron said Britain has built up 'world-renowned' institutions such as the NHS and BBC, and 'fought for freedom in two world wars, leaving 'unbreakable bonds'.
He said: 'I have no time for those who say there is no way Scotland could go it alone.
'I know first-hand the contribution Scotland and Scots make to Britain's success – so for me there's no question about whether Scotland could be an independent nation.
'The real question is whether it should – whether Scotland is stronger, safer, richer and fairer within our United Kingdom or outside it.'
Scotland’s deputy first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said Mr Cameron had simply reminded people that ‘he heads a government that Scotland didn’t vote for and that independence is the only way to ensure that Scotland always gets the government it votes for’.
A report from the First Minister's council of economic advisers suggested Scotland should retain sterling as currency in the event of independence.
Holding on to the pound would also benefit the rest of the UK as a key trading partner, the report concludes.
Professor Crawford, of Cambridge University, is an Australian State Counsel, similar to a QC. Professor Boyle is an expert on international disputes. Their opinion was requested last year by the Foreign and Cabinet offices in London and the Advocate General Office in Edinburgh.
Agreement: If Scotland gained independence, following a referendum agreed by Alex Salmond and David Cameron last year, Scotland would have to renegotiate 14,000 international treaties